Are There Zombies in Scripture? – Matt 27
This is a continuation from Are There Zombies in Scripture, Alan’s post last weekend about whether or not we can find zombies in the Christian Bible.
Last week Alan discussed a strange plague of physical ailment that very closely resembled zombification. So his major connection was between the symptoms of the undead and the symptoms of a plague. I want to talk about the thing that makes zombies really unique and special: the fact that they are reanimated corpses.
This is a touchy subject because Christianity is largely concerned with the resurrection of the dead, and, this being one of the most important elements of the faith, Christians are generally quite touchy about how this is dealt with. I would say that generally the resurrections demonstrated in Scripture have distinct characteristics that would render the likelihood of them being zombie reanimations virtually null.
There is however an exception to this rule. It is an obscure and rarely quoted brief passage of Scripture found in Matthew 27 directly after the death of Christ. The two verse passage casually points out that:
the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised; and coming out of the graves after His resurrection, they went into the holy city and appeared to many. – Matt 27: 52-53 (NKJV)
This passage is incredibly ambiguous. I want to break down a few elements of it that don;t fit the typical resurrection patterns of Scripture and how those things may indicate that these were something else, something possibly related to the undead:
- first, this followed an earthquake. No one told the bodies to rise, no one called to the dead people telling them to come back to life. The earthquake shook things up and the graves opened.
- also, this states that these were bodies not people. When Jesus raised Lazarus it was clear that we were talking about Lazarus the man, not the body. Here we are talking about bodies. Very unusual. Could these bodies have risen, but not the saints that had once indwelt them?
- another interesting thing is that it does not say they woke up. It says they had fallen asleep, but not that they woke up when they came out of the graves. Generally when Jesus brought people back to life he told them to wake up. So were these saints still sleeping while their bodies walked around?
- and lastly, they did not talk or do anything but simply go into the city. When people were raised from the dead they normally said something like they were hungry or something. These bodies just went into the city. What for? Maybe they were hungry too … for flesh!
So, as you can see, this passage doesn’t fall in line with most of the other true resurrections of Christian Scripture. Is it because this was not typical? The next verse states that these bodies that had risen from the graves and gone into the city inspired fear, even in the guards, which seems pretty likely in the event of the undead rising from the grave. Then silence on the subject. Most other resurrections are given quite a bit of airplay. This, mass resurrection/reanimation gets only two verses? Seems odd… unless?